Review: Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum. Danish National Museum. Supplement

Sabine Schultz and Jan Zahle, eds. Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum. The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals of the Danish National Museum. Supplement: Acquisitions 1942-1996. Copenhagen: Nationalmuseet, 2002. 123 pp., 54 b/w pls. Sb. ISBN 87-89384-80-6. $95.00.

Before offering a general overview of the material catalogued in the new Supplement to the SNG Copenhagen it should be pointed out that it includes a number of star attractions, superlative and historically important pieces that will impress even the most jaded of numismatists. From the western reaches of the Greek world there is a beautiful Syracusan decadrachm (81) signed by Kimon, while the Greek homelands around the Aegean are represented by a rare tetradrachm (306) of Lampsacus naming Demetrius the son of Demetrius, an unusual Attic weight tetradrachm (316) of Eumenes II struck in the name of Athena Nikephorus, a tetradrachm (326) of Mytilene with the types of Zeus Ammon and a Dionysiac herm, and several wonderful spread flan civic issues of Ionian Miletus (335-336) and Carian Alabanda (343-344). From the Hellenized lands to the east there is an incredible portrait tetradrachm (280) depicting Mithradates III of Pontus that was used for the dustcover of Otto Mørkholm’s Early Hellenistic Coinage (1991), a flawless stater (1205) of Hierapolis-Bambyce depicting Atargatis, and a decadrachm of Alexander the Great (1296) commemorating the Indian campaign.

Even if by some tragedy someone might fail to be impressed by one of these absolute jewels of ancient Greek coinage, there is still hope. In addition to the stars mentioned above there is something for almost every area of interest among the 1341 coins catalogued in the Supplement, which covers issues from just about every part of the Greek world, with the exception of material from the bordering Celtic lands. The latter is intended to appear in its own future SNG volume. Whether one specializes in the coinage of mainland Greece, Punic North Africa, or the Parthian Empire there are coins worth seeing here. However, the Supplement will be most valuable to those interested in the coinages struck by the Greek colonies in Italy, the fifth and fourth century issues struck by the cities and dynasts of Lycia, and the coinages of the Hellenistic cities and monarchs, particularly those of the Cappadocian and Seleucid kings. The largest amount of material in this latest addition to the SNG Copenhagen falls into these major categories thanks in part to the three numismatic giants who helped to mould the Greek collection of the Danish National Museum over the last several decades: Rudi Thomsen, Jan Zahle and Otto Mørkholm. Due to their respective interests in these three areas, the present volume is in large part a monument to them, thereby making it an especially important work to those who would follow in their footsteps.

The Italian section of 85 pieces boasts a number of aes grave issues of the Etruscans and Romans (2-19), as well as two early Roman didrachms (20-21) and an interesting Samnite denarius (23) from the period of the Social War (90-88 BC), but as one would expect, it is much stronger in the coinages of the Hellenic foundations of Magna Graecia than of the native Italic states and peoples. The most notable pieces struck by Greek cities in Italy and listed here include three Tarentine obols (34-36) with variant types from those previously known, an Archaic stater of Siris and Pyxus (53), and a tetradrachm (68) of Messana produced during the Samian occupation of 491/0 BC.

The additions to the Lycian collection include almost 150 coins (366-508) struck by the cities and local dynasts over the course of more than two centuries, a few of which are entirely new types. Five unpublished staters and fractions (378, 380, 382, 388, 391) bearing various animal types expand our knowledge of the anepigraphic silver coinages produced in the first half of the fifth century BC, but unfortunately the problem of attribution to specific mints and rulers still remains. For the inscribed issues, a stater in the name of MUTUSE (437) and three silver fractions marked WEDREWI (497, 502-503) are also new and noteworthy. The quantity and general high quality of the preservation of the Lycian material presented in the Supplement will make it indispensable to students of this series.

Almost as impressive as the extensive coverage of Lycian coinage is the large group of Hellenistic coins struck by the kings of Cappadocia (629-942), many of which come from the Cappadocia 1959 Hoard (IGCH 1419). Although we do not have the excitement of discovering previously unpublished pieces here, there can be little doubt that the Cappadocian section will be of great value to the students of this interesting, but somewhat understudied coinage. With the exception of the pretender Orophernes and the weak rulers who followed Ariobarzanes I, all of the Cappadocian kings are represented by at least one of their coins, while most are illustrated by multiple examples. Of all the kings, Ariarathes IX (820-907) is best represented by some 87 pieces, while his predecessors Ariarathes V (638-709) and VII (742-798) are not far behind.

That the Supplement will be of great interest to specialists in Seleucid coinage should come as little surprise since Mørkholm was himself fascinated by the series and published widely on Seleucid numismatic topics. Almost 230 silver and bronze coins are listed ranging from the early Alexandrine types of the dynastic founder, Seleucus I (956-957, 959-961) to a bronze (1184) struck at Antioch in the name of Tigranes II during the Armenian occupation of Syria from 83-69 BC (the dates 95-44 BC printed in the catalogue are erroneous). Thanks to Mørkholm’s special interest in the rulers of the early and mid second century BC, the issues of Antiochus III, Seleucus IV, Antiochus IV and Demetrius I are especially well represented. Some of the more interesting pieces in the Seleucid section include a beautiful tetradrachm (996) of Seleucus II depicting the king with a full beard, rare issues of the usurpers Molon (1006) and Timarchus (1110-1112), a jugate portrait issue (1122) of Demetrius I overstruck on a tetradrachm of the latter, an eastern obol of Alexander Balas (1156), a cornucopiae drachm (1168) of Demetrius II, and a bronze (1138) from the brief reign of Seleucus VI at Antioch. An imitation of the drachms of Demetrius I (1138) is a new example of the Commagenean imitation a19 p19 published in O. Hoover, “Notes on Some Imitation Drachms of Demetrius I Soter from Commagene,” AJN 10 (1998).

Although the Seleucid material is generally well described, it is somewhat odd that the most recent major reference cited is A. Houghton’s Coins of the Seleucid Empire (1983). While there is no doubt that this is a popular modern reference, we might have expected to see additional reference made to SNG Spaer (1998), which updates some of the attributions in CSE. If this newer work had been used, items like the small bronze no. 1021 would have been attributed to Antiochus IV, rather than Antiochus I-III (However, the identification of the obverse as Medusa is preferable to its description as Heracles wearing lion’s skin (SNG Spaer 1066). Likewise, it might have been easier to tell that a small bronze (1137) of Demetrius I attributed to Mopsus and said to depict Artemis actually shows the Phoenician god Kronos-El and was produced at Byblus under Alexander Balas (SNG Spaer 1500). It is also worth pointing out that the Supplement went to press before the appearance of A. Houghton and C. Lorber’s Seleucid Coins I (2002) and therefore does not take into account any of the changes to mint attribution and chronology prescribed therein.

In addition to the main Seleucid coinages, the Supplement also includes notable foreign pieces with connections to the Seleucid Empire. Several posthumous Alexanders from Chios (144) and Aspendus (182a, 183-185) bear anchor countermarks while an issue from Phaselis (181) has a Helios head countermark, all of which are thought to have been applied by the Seleucid authorities under Antiochus IV, or perhaps more likely, Demetrius I. An attractive municipal tetradrachm struck at Lebedus (1562) is also stamped with the Macedonian helmet used as the badge of the Seleucid usurper, Diodotus Tryphon. The most impressive of all the Seleucid-related material, however, is probably the beautiful and rare didrachm of Euboean Carystus (255), thought by some to have been struck during the military operations of Antiochus III in mainland Greece. This view is taken by the editors of the Supplement, although Mørkholm (Early Hellenistic Coinage (1991), p. 158) actually preferred an earlier date. The obverse is described simply as “Diademed male head r.,” thus leaving the question open as to whether it was intended to represent a local dynast or Antiochus III (see R. Fleischer, Studien zur seleukidischen Kunst (1991), pp. 35-36).

There is no question that the main focus of the Supplement is on the coinages of the Classical and Hellenistic periods, but there are still a number of items that should appeal to students of the Greek East under Roman rule. For example, a Hadrianic didrachm (943) of Cappadocian Caesarea with a Tyche reverse and two Roman Provincial bronzes from Cilician Laertes (577) in the name of Salonina the wife of Gallienus, and from Nicomedia (296) under Antoninus Pius, respectively, are previously unpublished coins. A beautiful 5-assaria issue (522) of Side is also new, although it is mistakenly described as a neocorate issue, when it is in fact a homonoia piece. The second city of the alliance appears to be Alexandria ad Issum, but the inscription is somewhat unclear. Specialists in Roman Cilicia will almost certainly appreciate the listing of some fifty Provincial bronzes (551-602, 617-619) from the region, including issues of most of the major centers, as well as some of the more obscure cities. A nice selection of large diameter bronzes from the neighboring regions of Pamphylia (521-524), Pisidia (525-529, 532-534), and Lycaonia (535-536) rounds out the more important Roman Provincials included in the catalogue.

The extremely high quality of the photography makes the plate coins very easy to read and therefore makes the correction of erroneous descriptions a fairly simple task. Thus, despite the occasional textual mistake, the Supplement is an excellent tool for coin identification and will make a welcome addition to the bookshelf of any Greek numismatist, although it will have special appeal to Thomsen’s, Zahle’s and Mørkholm’s fellow explorers in the coinages of Magna Graecia, Lycia, and the Hellenistic East.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Review: Nouvel atlas des monnaies Gauloises I. de la Seine au Rhin

Louis-Pol Delestrée and Marcel Tache. Nouvel atlas des monnaies Gauloises I. de la Seine au Rhin. Éditions Commios. Saint-Germain-en-Laye, 2002. 136 pp., 29 color pls. Hb. 87 Euro. ISBN 2-9518364-0-6.

In 1892, Henri de la Tour published his Atlas des monnaies gauloises, the first major attempt at organizing and cataloguing the wide variety of coinages produced by the Celtic tribes of continental Europe. This monumental work, primarily based on the Celtic coins in the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, soon became the standard reference for the series and has continued to maintain its status as a primary reference to this day. The importance of la Tour’s work can be gauged by the reprinting of his Atlas with revisions in 2001 and the updates provided by B. Fischer, Atlas de monnaies gauloises, mise à jour and S. Scheers, Un complement à l’Atlas de monnaies gauloises de Henri de la Tour in 1992, the centennial of the Atlas’ first printing.

Despite the general tendency to update la Tour in various supplementary articles and books, Louis-Pol Delestrée and Marcel Tache (D. and T. hereafter) have taken the bold step of a complete revision in their Nouvel atlas des monnaies Gauloises I. de la Seine au Rhin. Rather than simply collecting further addenda and corrigenda to la Tour’s text, the authors have adapted the model of his original Atlas and recast it as a modern catalogue taking into account recent studies, archaeological evidence, and material in private collections, all of which was unavailable to la Tour. Although la Tour’s Atlas was contained in a single volume, the authors have envisioned the Nouvel atlas as a multi-volume work dealing with the coinage of the European Celts on a regional basis. The main focus of the present volume is on the coinage struck in Belgic Gaul and the surrounding regions from the introduction of gold staters imitating Greek designs in the third century BC until the end of coinage in the native Celtic style at the beginning of the first century AD. However, work is already underway on a second volume that will cover the issues of Armorica and adjacent regions, and future books are planned for the Celtic coinages of eastern and southern Europe.

The catalogue of the Nouvel atlas is organized into the following five major chronological sections: “IIIème siècle et début du IIème siècle avant J.-C.,” “IIème siècle avant J.-C.,” “Fin du IIème siècle jusqu’à la guerre des Gaules (ca. 130 à 60 avant J.-C.),” “La guerre des Gaules et la période pré-augustéenne (ca. 60 à 30/25 avant J.-C.)” and “Période augustéenne (fin du Ier siècle avant J.-C. et début du Ième siècle après J.-C.),” within which, the coinages are arranged geographically moving from west to east. Because the vast majority of Celtic coinage is associated with tribal groups, rather than fixed locations, like the urban centers of the Greco-Roman world, or with individuals known from historical sources, its geographical and temporal localization can be a daunting task. However, D. and T. have paid very close attention to material from organized archaeological excavations and especially to provenanced finds in local private collections in an attempt to get the best data available for areas and periods of circulation. Once armed with the provenance information one can make reasonable suggestions about the issuing tribes, based on the regions ascribed to them in Julius Caesar’s Bellum Gallicum. Thus, for example, it is now possible to distinguish between gold staters “à l’oeil” struck by the Treveri in the region between the Meuse and the Rhine rivers and those produced by the Remi between the Oise and the Meuse. Recognizing the importance of the provenance data for future work, the authors consistently include find spot information whenever it is available, along with the current location of individual coins and references to the most recent publications.

Issues of chronology are somewhat more difficult to solve, especially for coinages of entirely native type, often requiring D. and T. to rely on the less than precise dating evidence provided by excavations of La Tène period sites. Although iconography can play an important role in reconstructing the chronology of Celtic coinage, particularly where imitative issues are concerned, some of D. and T.’s chronological arguments based on iconography should perhaps be treated with caution. For example, it is suggested that DT 172, an unpublished stater “à l’oeil” variety of the Suessiones, should be dated to the 60s BC because of the appearance of an oblong “bouclier” above the horse on the reverse. According to the authors (apparently thinking of the shields on the famous Gallic War denarii of L. Hostilius Saserna (RRC 448/2), D. Iunius Brutus Albinus (RRC 450/1), and Julius Caesar (RRC 452/2 and 452/4-5), this particular type of “bouclier” was used by Celtic warriors during Caesar’s Gallic Wars (58-51 BC) and thus provides criteria for dating the coin. However, the value of the “bouclier” as a chronological marker becomes dubious when we consider the artistic and archaeological evidence that shows the adoption of oblong shields by the European Celts centuries before the great Gallo-Roman conflict (P. Wilcox, Rome’s Enemies (2): Gallic and British Celts (1987), p. 18). Because related staters “à l’oeil” (DT 166-169 and 171) all include an oval shape with a central dot (thought to be a disengaged chariot wheel (“roue”)) above or behind the horse, it seems somewhat more likely that the “bouclier” may simply be an enlarged and more ornate “roue.”

One of the great pleasures of Celtic numismatics is the frequent discovery of formerly unknown typological variants and even entirely new coins. The Nouvel atlas is a veritable treasure trove of new and previously unpublished material from private collections that will be of great interest to specialists. Readers will find at least one new coin or variant in each of the chronological sections, but the greatest quantity and most important material clusters around the late second and first centuries BC. New bronze coins (DT 174A and 179A) using the same types as the gold staters “à l’oeil” and “à l’epsilon” of the Remi and Nervii, respectively, show that these tribes were actually on a bi-metallic coinage system in the late second and early first centuries BC. The typological linkage of a new bronze coin (DT 551) to the CRICIRV staters “à l’oeil” struck in the period c. 60-30/25 BC indicates that by this time the Suessiones were producing connected gold and bronze series, just as the Remi and Nervii had earlier. Thus all three of these recently discovered bronzes strongly point to a pattern of associated gold and bronze coinage emissions, once only hinted at by the later first century staters and bronzes “à l’oeil” struck by the Treveri in the name of ARDA (DT 601-602). It will be interesting to see whether future finds will also reveal similar bronze sister coinages for the gold staters “à l’oeil” produced by the Suessiones and Treveri before the Gallic Wars and those struck by the Meldi after c. 60 BC.

At the same time that new coins serve to give us a more nuanced picture of certain tribal issues, they can also go far to help us understand the size of other series. For example, D. and T. record some twenty-nine previously undocumented varieties and one entirely new type (DT 495C) for the silver and bronze “fonds commun” coinages struck by the Ambiani in the period c. 50-30/25 BC. These new additions make it possible to more fully appreciate the truly vast scale of the “fonds commun.” Likewise, our knowledge of the coinages struck by tribes less well represented in the numismatic record has also expanded thanks to the new coins published in the Nouvel atlas. A formerly unknown individual signing bronze coinage as VONTEO (DT 659) can now be added to the list of names appearing on the late first century issues of the Veliocassi, while the type corpus for late anepigraphic bronzes of the Caleti has almost doubled with the addition of two new coins (DT 664 and 667A).

The twenty-nine plates that appear in the Nouvel atlas will almost certainly impress anyone accustomed to working with the black and white line drawings employed by La Tour, or the photographic plates of more recent works on Celtic coinage. Not only is the digital photography generally of a high caliber, but D. and T. have even gone so far as to present the illustrations in stunning full color. Although this decision must have had a great impact on the cost of producing the book, in the opinion of this reviewer it was well worth the expense. Thanks to the authors, readers are now treated to the true beauty of many of the coins that could not be fully appreciated in black and white photos or line drawings. The gold issues of the Parisii, Suessiones, Remi, Treveri and Nervii seem to glow right on the page, while the vast majority of the bronze coins have wonderful green patinas, making them look like they were struck from emeralds. Even the non-specialist in Celtic coinages will find something in the plates to delight the eyes.

In some cases, particularly where rare pieces are concerned, the coins themselves were not easily available to the authors, making it necessary for D. and T. to illustrate them with images derived from the black and white plates of earlier publications or from plaster casts. For the sake of visual consistency within the plates of the Nouvel atlas these images were digitally colorized. Unfortunately, while this colorization certainly enhances their appeal from an artistic perspective, it also compromises their scientific value to some extent. There is no way to be sure that the shade of gold used to colorize DT 115, a “type janiforme” stater struck in the Meuse-Moselle valley faithfully reproduces the toning of the actual coin, just as it is unclear that the green used to colorize DT 213, a potin “aux chèvres affrontées” of the Suessiones accurately represents the coin’s real patina. Thus, for casts and reproduced black and white photographs, the authors might have been well advised to leave them unaltered, like the coins depicted in L. Reding’s plate of late potins “aux anneletes” reprinted from CN (1968) at the bottom of plate XI in the Nouvel atlas.

The great value of this volume to specialists in northwestern Celtic coinages is hard to miss, but it should also be pointed out that the Nouvel atlas will also appeal to students of Roman Provincial coinage in Western Europe and those with an interest in numismatic imitations and the affects of outside cultural-economic influences on Gaul during the La Tène and Roman periods. When specific Greek and Roman numismatic prototypes are known, D. and T. do their best to point them out, either in the text of the catalogue under the rubric of “observations éventuelles” or in the notes accompanying the plate images. However, readers should be warned that the identification of these foreign models is somewhat haphazard and not always as complete as one might like. There are a few numbered references to the Roman Republican prototypes published in M. Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage (1974), but other references might have been useful as well. Consultation of the appropriate Sylloges would have helped to more fully describe the Massiliote, Tarentine, and Macedonian models for the early gold coinage, and reference to the first volume of Roman Imperial Coinage would have provided the specific Augustan prototype for the so-called “Gallo-Roman” bronzes with the schematic type of the Altar of Lugdunum (DT 695-695) struck in the region of Vendeuil-Caply (Oise).

The RRC reference for DT 356, a bronze issue of western Belgic Gaul bearing the obverse type of a head “aux cheveux calamistrés” appears to be incorrect. For its model, the authors cite the denarii of L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi (RRC 340-341, dated to 90 BC) depicting the laureate head of Apollo, but give the unconventional date of 88 BC as the year of their issue. It seems that D. and T. actually intended to cite the denarius series of C. Censorinus (RRC 346/2), which was struck in 88 using a similar head of Apollo, but wearing a taenia. A close examination of DT 356 shows that the head on the Celtic coin does in fact wear a taenia, rather than a laurel wreath.

Nevertheless, for those with an interest in Roman Provincials, the Nouvel atlas is excellent for placing the late issues of Belgic Gaul struck in the names of the Roman governors Hirtius and Carinas, and the Romanized local official Germanus (Roman Provincial Coins I (1992), 501-503 and 506) = DT 612, 677-679 and 706), into their wider context at the end of a long period of imitating Roman models. It also catalogues some coinages, such as the “Gallo-Roman” series (DT 694-706) produced in the Augustan period, which perhaps should have been included in RPC I despite their lack of inscriptions.

There can be little doubt that by producing this first volume of the Nouvel atlas des monnaies Gauloises D. and T. have done an important service to both scholars and collectors of Celtic coinages. Now all of the previously known and much brand new material struck by the tribes of Belgic Gaul and the surrounding areas has been catalogued in one place, making the proper identification and dating of coins in collections and in archaeological sites much less of a research odyssey. This reviewer, and no doubt all those with an interest in the Celtic coinages of Armorica, look forward to the next volume, which promises to be a similar tour de force.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Review: Hellenistic Economies

Zofia H. Archibald, John Davies, Vincent Gabrielsen and G.J. Oliver, eds. Hellenistic Economies. London/New York: Routledge, 2001. 400 pp., 41 figs, 11 tables. Hb. ISBN 0-415-23466-2. $85.00.

Although there is often a tendency to think of the collections of the American Numismatic Society in terms of individual objects, it is always worth remembering that the ancient coins, weights, and stamped amphora handles contained in the ANS vaults are really the shattered and disarticulated remains of once larger structures known as economies. Over the centuries the patterns of supply and demand, the vagaries of local and international trade, and the political and social ideologies that gave these ancient economies their motive force have decayed and disappeared, leaving us with little more than the dry bones. Hellenistic Economies brings together thirteen papers originally presented at a Liverpool conference in 1998 in an attempt to flesh out diverse aspects of the multiplicity of large and smaller scale economies that operated in the period delineated by the death of Alexander in 323 BC and the Battle of Actium in 31 BC.

John Davies sets the scene and makes observations about the direction that the future study of Hellenistic economies should take in the first paper, “Hellenistic Economies in the Post-Finley Era” (pp. 11-61). He persuasively argues that the influential minimalist and substantivist approach to the ancient economy developed by Moses I. Finley in The Ancient Economy (1973) needs revision and that modern students of Hellenistic economies would do well to reexamine the data and attempt to explore new models. However, despite the emphasis on departure from the Finleyan view, many of the articles that follow, including those that deal closely with aspects of coinage and monetized economies, and which will probably also be of the greatest interest to most readers of ANS Magazine, generally tend to reach the sorts of conclusions that Finley would have approved.

The most traditionally numismatic of the papers is Katerina Panagopoulou’s “The Antigonids: Patterns of a Royal Economy” (pp. 313-364), which primarily focuses on the problems of interpretation that have dogged the precious metal coinages struck in the name of “King Antigonos” and especially the tetradrachms bearing the types of Pan and Poseidon. By preparing a die study and employing recognized statistical formulae (all supplemented by extensive tables and two plates of illustrations), the author estimates the total obverse die production for four chronological periods in the reigns of Gonatas and Doson and comes to the important conclusion that the Pan and Poseidon coinages could not possibly have accounted for all of the money needed by the Antigonids for their involvement in the Chremonidean War (268/7-261 BC) and other military adventures in Greece and Asia Minor during the third century BC. Thus, she suggests that neither Gonatas nor Doson produced their coinages with the intention that they would be used to facilitate international or large-scale local trade and that indirect means such as booty and exactions from the cities were employed to meet the military costs of the kingdom. The majority of coinage used in the Antigonid realm is thought to have been provided through posthumous Alexanders and foreign coins on the Attic weight standard. In this case, the author endows the Pans and Poseidons with the primary political purpose of celebrating victories in the Chremonidean War and the battle of Andros (246/5 BC). By such emphasis on the political motivation, Panagopoulou seems to support Finley’s view that social and political forces dominated “economic rationality” in the ancient world.

Both “Population-Production-Taxation-Coinage: A Model for the Seleukid Economy” (pp. 69-102) by Makis Aperghis and Klaus Bringmann’s, “Grain, Timber and Money: Hellenistic Kings, Finance, Buildings and Foundations in Greek Cities” (pp. 205-214) also reach minimalist conclusions regarding the role of coinage in Hellenistic royal economies, again smacking of Finley’s school of thought. It is with some irony that at the same time, Aperghis also goes further than most of the authors in the collection to follow Davies’ introductory advice and attempt to develop a model for the economy of a Hellenistic state.

By separately analyzing data sets for each of the four economic factors of population, production, taxation and coinage, Aperghis seeks to discover their relationship to one another and to produce a workable model for the economy of Seleukid Mesopotamia. Unfortunately, while the methodology is sound and the intent laudable, one must question the validity of the data. For example, a population of 5-6 million is estimated for Mesopotamia based primarily on extrapolation from archaeological surveys and literary evidence for the population of Ptolemaic Egypt since direct evidence for the number of inhabitants in the region is entirely lacking. The data for individual rations and prices of grain in Mesopotamia are much more secure, as they are derived from contemporary Babylonian administrative texts and astronomical diaries, but it is unclear how much faith can be placed in the total of 10,000 talents as the estimated value of subsistence cereals in Mesopotamia, since it is arrived at through the use of less than certain population figures. Die statistics for Mesopotamian mints under Antiochus III and Seleucus IV are employed in order to estimate the quantity of coin circulating in the region at about 1-2 talents per 1,000 inhabitants, but again the role of estimated population in the equation must cast a shadow over the validity of this figure. The origin of the data for obverse dies under Antiochus III is also unclear, since the cited source only provides data for Seleucus IV. Because the number of coins tallies with a total tax of 1 talent per 1,000 inhabitants, arrived at through a disputed figure given by Herodotos (1.192) and Aperghis’ population estimate, it is concluded that the main purpose of Seleukid coinage was to provide the means for the population to pay taxes to the government. While the theory is plausible, the flawed nature of the evidence makes it difficult to accept without serious reservations. The underlying assumption that coinage had a very prescribed function within the Seleukid economy and that interregional trade had an almost negligible role in this closed system suggests the acceptance of Finleyan minimalism.

Bringmann’s paper eschews questions of production and circulation in favor of those involving the use and limits of money in royal euergetism. Based on literary and epigraphical evidence, he argues that the kings in general, regardless of dynasty and differing royal economic circumstances, rarely had enough cash on hand to cover benefactions to cities with price tags in excess of 100 talents. For more expensive gifts, such as the educational institutions founded by Eumenes II in Rhodes and Miletos, or the multinational relief effort on behalf of Rhodes after the earthquake of 228 BC, the kings preferred to make payment in kind, either donating large quantities of grain, which the civic authorities were then required to sell for hard currency, or providing raw materials for building construction. Through the use of these methods of indirect finance, the author observes that the kings were able to compete with each other for status as great benefactors while compelling the cities to partially underwrite the gifts, since the latter ultimately had to provide the cost of labor to convert the raw materials and grain into finished buildings and money.

This conclusion might seem to support the Finleyan idea of a “primitive” economy, in which exchange was largely driven by political and social considerations, coinage only played a limited role, and transactions in kind were dominant. However, Bringmann’s proposal that means of indirect finance were purposely used by the kings in an attempt to keep their coined money in their own states, a concern that has already been recognized in the creation of closed monetary zones in the Attalid and Ptolemaic kingdoms, may point to a more sophisticated understanding of economy in the Hellenistic period than Finley would allow. It is also tempting to think that indirect finance may lie behind the production of cistophoric tetradrachms by certain cities under Attalid control, for we know that they received their bullion from the crown in the form of benefactions (F. Kleiner and S. Noe, The Early Cistophoric Coinage (1977), p. 125 and n. 19), but apparently assumed the cost of minting themselves. One wonders whether similar arrangements might not have been involved when cities under the authority of other Hellenistic monarchs struck coins in the names of their rulers.

The fourth and last article to directly touch on coinage is Kenneth Kitchen’s “Economics in Ancient Arabia: From Alexander to the Augustans” (pp. 157-173). Unlike the papers discussed above, it does not so much analyze the evidence for a facet of Arabian economies with the intention of developing a model for how it may have operated, but rather offers a simple descriptive overview of the history and economic involvements of the several ancient Arabian states. Despite the title, only five pages (pp. 166-170) are actually devoted to the Hellenistic and early Roman periods, while the majority of those that precede them are dedicated to briefly sketching the early political and economic history of the Arabian Peninsula. The author provides a valuable bibliography of studies on ancient Arabian coins, including material published up to 1999, which will no doubt be of interest to specialists in Sabaean, Himyarite and Minaean coinages. However, his treatment of Arabian coinage in the main text leaves something to be desired. While Kitchen suggests that the Arabian imitation of Athenian and Roman coin models had to do with the facilitation of international trade, he fails to really argue the point. Instead, he prefers to use the coins more as evidence for political history than for any light that they might shed on the operation of economies. The coins are important because they provide the names of otherwise unknown kings of Hagar, or because their presence can be interpreted (not necessarily correctly) as a sign of political domination, as in the case of Characenean coins found as far south as the territory of the modern United Arab Emirates, rather than because circulation patterns might elucidate economic interaction between the Arabian states and the wider Hellenistic world. Mention is made of royal coins of Hagar found in Asia Minor, but nothing further is done with this information. Although the general understanding of the Arabian kingdoms as important players in the larger network of international trade stands in opposition to Finley’s “primitivist” economic views, the author’s treatment of the artifacts of that trade betrays the Finleyan tendency to focus on the social and political, rather than the economic importance of coinage.

It is really only in the articles that do not deal explicitly with coinage that we can catch a few glimpses of movement away from the Finleyan outlook. Amos Kloner’s paper on “The Economy of Hellenistic Maresha: Inferences from the City Plan and Archaeological Finds” (pp. 103-131) describes this remarkable city in central Israel in which all of the currently excavated houses were equipped with man-made subterranean complexes. The presence of some 22 olive presses and 85 columbaria in these underground rooms makes it fairly clear that in the Hellenistic period the people of Maresha were involved in industrial specialization, something that Finley generally argued against.

Zofia Archibald’s “Making the Most of One’s Friends: Western Asia Minor in the Early Hellenistic Age” (pp. 245-270) and “The Rhodian Associations and Economic Activity” (pp. 215-244) by Vincent Gabrielsen both attempt to keep the Finleyan habit of embedding actions in social, rather than economic, motivation at arm’s length while discussing the possible use of proxeny decrees to reconstruct inter-regional commercial connections and the manipulation of religious associations by their members and the Rhodian aristocracy as a means of controlling resources of man-power. The epigraphical record also provides the springboard for Graham Oliver’s excellent snapshot of an Attic micro-economy in “Regions and Micro-Regions: Grain for Rhamnous” (pp. 137-155). In this article the author illustrates the continued importance of local grain production in the deme of Rhamnous by analyzing an honorific decree inscribed on behalf of Epichares for his actions to protect the harvest and provision the deme during the Chremonidean War. Here one of the main goals is to underline the importance of looking at the “multiplicity of regional layers of economic activity” as well as the grander schemes of long-distance trade.

In “Between Colonies and Emporia: Iberian Hinterlands and the Exchange of Salted Fish in Eastern Spain” (pp. 175-199), Benedict Lowe also takes interest in a regional economy as he charts the development of the salted fish trade in Hellenistic Iberia, arguing that native communities were able to use their control over resources in order to manipulate demand by Greeks and Carthaginians.

While the influence of Finley can be detected in many of the articles, David Gibbins’ valuable overview of Classical and Hellenistic shipwrecks in “Shipwrecks and Hellenistic Trade” (pp. 273-312) is perhaps the most explicitly Finleyan of them all, considering the emphasis on the importance of socio-cultural needs as the motivation for trade, the small scale of most shipping, and an insistence on limited “economic rationalism.” The strong Finleyan overtones of Gibbins are nicely contrasted by the last article to deal with a specific economy, “Hellenistic Economies: The Case of Rome” (pp. 367-378) by Jeremy Paterson. Here the author maps the tensions between what he defines as the “natural,” “political,” and “market” economies of Republican Rome, emphasizing the greater importance of the “natural” economy in the long term. This discussion is especially worthwhile because it serves to challenge some of the basic tenets of the Finleyan outlook, such as the greater expense of land versus water transportation and the relatively minor importance of trade for the movement of goods. Of all the papers, Paterson’s is really the only one that makes a serious break with Finley and also presents an alternative economic model as recommended by Davies at the beginning of the collection.

The book concludes with Zofia Archibald’s “Away from Rostovtzeff: A New SEHHW” (pp. 279-388), which essentially critiques M.I. Rostovtzeff’s classic and seminal work, A Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World (1941) and the Finleyan reaction that ultimately grew out of it.

As we have seen, with a few important exceptions, the articles in Hellenistic Economies tend not to affirm the types of post-Finleyan discourse that Davies in his opening and Archibald in her closing article look towards. Instead the collection is very much a monument to the continuing and often subtle influence of Moses Finley’s minimalist and substantivist views on the ancient economy. As such it is well worth reading, for it is a clarion call to economic historians as well as to specialists in the physical remains of economic structures, like numismatists, warning that there is still much work to be done before we can truly begin to imagine new skins and sinews for the dry bones and to strike out on the paths of ancient economic interpretation that went undreamed of by Finley.

—Oliver D. Hoover

Treasures in the Vault

by Michael Bates

Many curious and odd objects have surfaced from the dusty corners of the vaults, as a result of the inventory, among which is a group of metallic ore samples. With the rocks there were a number of very old identifying paper tickets, but a geologist will be needed to restore the rocks to their identification. This lot does not seem to have been formally accessioned. Things that have also come to light are:

  • A very large Chinese balance set, in a wooden frame measuring almost 3 feet high and 30 inches wide, including four drawers with 43 different weights. For many years it was kept in George Miles’ office where some of the older members may remember seeing it. It was probably a gift of Helen Boyd in 1957.

Chinese balance set, 1957.187.1057
  • A collection of 741 military buttons and insignia given to the ANS by Stack’s in 1988. These are still on the original owner’s carefully assembled and labeled 9” by 12” cards, from which some pieces were removed and retained or sold. Most of these are British, with a few other European countries. The card shown has the insignia of the Life Guards, the First King’s Dragoon Guards, the Bays, the Third Carabineers Prince of Wales’ Dragoon Guards, the Royal Scots Greys 2nd Dragoons, 3rd The King’s Own Hussars, 7th Queen’s Own Hussars, and 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers. These objects are fascinating, but they lie at the outermost limits of the Society’s collecting mission. All the buttons and insignia are individually described in the Society’s online inventory.
  • Some important large plaques and plaster casts inserted into the narrow space between the ceiling and a row of cabinets. We hope that the new building will allow us to store these properly on shelves where they can be studied and admired. Among these are a cross with the Virgin Mary and angels sculpted by the medallist Giovanni Carieti, that was donated by Edward D. Adams in 1919. Carieti, who was entirely self-taught, was born in Naples but moved to New York in 1912. He has a long notice in the Supplement to Forrer’s Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, enumerating 148 works, of which about two-thirds are religious. Forrer quotes at length a notice in Revue graphique belge that begins “really strange and most interesting is this figure of ‘Gicar’ [one of Carieti’s pseudonyms] …. he has succeeded in making his name known throughout Italy by his literary works also …. we have to do with a personality so complex, with a temperament so extraordinary, that it is impossible to reproduce all the phases, all the metamorphoses of his very complex personality.” It seems that the ANS owns only five examples of Carieti’s many medallic productions.

Adoration of the Virgin, by Giovanni Cariati (ca. 1907-12), 1912.118.1. Gift of Edward D. Adams
  • A plaque honoring William Herbert Sheldon, Ph.D., M.D., whose name will be well-known to all collectors of large cents and to all who were members of the ANS about than a decade ago. Sheldon is also known as the scholar who organized the project to take frontal and side nude photographs of entering Ivy League undergraduates in the fifties and sixties, attempting to demonstrate a supposed correlation of body shape and personality. The citation reads “during the past century and longer, there have been many prominent numismatists associated with the United States large cents, but not one has ever equaled the contributions and accomplishments of Dr. William H. Sheldon.” It was he who took 128 large cent from the ANS collection and substituted others of lesser quality. There does not seem to be an accession record for this item.
  • A nicely bound little book, 7-1/4” in height, in a slip-case covered with marbled paper, labeled on the spine “French War-Time Currency 1914-1917.” It contains 114 municipal emergency notes “remboursable après le guerre.” This was a 1967 gift of Samuel R. Milbank, President of the ANS from 1960 to 1978, and contains also his careful handwritten captions and typed introduction. He states “the present collection of these notes is believed to be complete.” The individual notes have yet to be catalogued. Along the same lines, a large heavy album was found that once contained “the greatest collection of greater and post [-war] Russian paper ever made” according to the donor, Farran Zerbe, who gave us the album in 1943. It was put together by an unnamed diplomat who was in Russia during the revolutionary period. Many of the items have been removed and integrated into our main collection, but there are still 287 pieces that await cataloguing. Another album has 177 “Cash Substitutes in the Panic of 1907,” the collection of A. Piatt Andrew, with his article on the subject tipped onto the first page of the album. This was the gift of Helen A. Patch in 1958. Yet another album, donated by Wayte Raymond in 1940, contains 546 French revolutionary assignats. All of these albums and some others of less interest should be catalogued by volunteer experts, once we have relocated to the new building.
  • A very dusty flat cardboard carton that, frankly, we are afraid to open. It is labeled “tobacco leaves.” One can poke a finger into it and feel, through a plastic wrapper, what indeed seem to be the stems of tobacco leaves. It is perfectly legitimate, of course, for the ANS to own tobacco leaves, which were used as currency (by the barrel) in early colonial Virginia. The carton and its contents are best left alone until someone can deal with them properly.

Masonic Medal From Great Britain

by Dawn Bennett

Early one morning while doing inventory, I found – amidst the many medals and decorations – a dark red oval case with a gold loop peaking out of the top. Upon opening the two metal clasps therein lay a stunning bright gold medal which greeted my eyes with an ornate image of three men in quaint dress, one holding a scroll, one holding a sword and the third looking on. I hurried to the library to investigate the piece and, to my surprise, saw the very same item featured prominently on one of the front pages of a 1938 book. The medal, (ANS 1948.40.1) was, according to Genealogy of the Banks and Allied Families, a Masonic medal from Great Britain.

It was presented to Brother James Bankes in 1790 “for his steady & upright conduct in the office of Rt. Wl. Master.” With a little investigative work, I found that along with this medal, James Lenox Banks also gave the ANS Library, in April 1948, the book mentioned above, which he compiled, as well as correspondence between E. M. L. Ehlers (The Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of New York) and various Masonic Antiquarians, which he had contacted, in reference to finding the name of the lodge which presented this medal. The reply on file stated that the name could not be found in any registers. They were able to report that the medal was made in London about 1790, but the makers’ mark I.H. could not be identified. There were however other medals of the same pattern in England, one being at the Grand Lodge Museum, London.

There is also on file an article from The Freemason, a British newsletter, dated January 14, 1899 in which the medal was pictured in hopes of finding out more information. It seems that all efforts were in vain, for the last line of a memorandum reads, “I wrote many letters and followed many clues… I decided the search was hopeless.”

Olympic Games, Athens 1896

by Robert Hoge

I have been noting various kinds of additional work needed to pack and transfer the collections while at the same time watching for items of particular interest. One lucky find that I made—in an unlabeled tray and lying in an unlabeled box—was an example of the commemorative medal of the first International Olympic Games of the modern era, held through the efforts of Baron Pierre de Coubertin at Athens in 1896.


Greece/Austria, Olympic Games Participation Medal, Athens, 1896. struck in Vienna. 0000.999.70623

This piece had been given one of our “provisional” accession numbers (indicating that the actual records on its acquisition are not readily available) along with a very brief and inadequate description. I was especially happy to run across this medal because we are working on plans for a future exhibit on numismatics relating to the Olympic games. A popular work, the first Olympic medal was produced by the die-sinking establishment of Wilhelm Pittner, in Vienna, Austria, which struck 25,000 of them in 21 days, as noted in Leonard Forrer’s Biographical Dictionary of Medallists (London: Spink & Son, 1909), p. 623. Since I have been focusing mostly on “problem” trays, I have also had occasion to see many items in our “backlog” of duplicates, casts, counterfeits, electrotypes and other suspicious sorts of things that have been relegated in the past to areas awaiting some future attention. With the size of our collections, and the volume of work always under way, such pieces have usually lacked the study necessary to do something with them, to identify them, box them, labeled them, catalog and file them (or dispose of them suitably). Then too, we often find that identical items may be encountered in various different locations within the cabinet—duplicate pieces which have been given slightly different descriptions, in some cases, and filed inconsistently over the years. I have had an interesting opportunity to note an array of early European medals which require a great deal of further study, including old reproductions of medals which are otherwise lacking in the cabinet.

Current Cabinet Activities (Summer 2003)

by Robert Wilson Hoge

The ANS Coin Rooms are the scene of constant activity as we prepare for the momentous move to our new location later this year. In addition to inventorying and starting to pack the collections, we have been maintaining our mission to serve the membership and the public by providing numismatic consultations, access to the cabinet and photography of specimens. We have been told that you enjoy learning about this side of museum curation, so to keep readers apprised of these aspects of our work, and to point out something of the range of the Society’s magnificent cabinet, I am continuing to mention some of our guests and correspondents, and some of their various fields of inquiry.

Among our many colleagues who are already well aware of the cabinet’s value for research, and stop by more or less regularly, George Cuhaj, Gordon Frost, Jerome Haggerty, Emmett MacDonald, Kenneth MacKenzie, Normand Pepin, Robert Schaaf and Katalina Uzdi have all visited the coin rooms again since the last issue of the ANS Magazine. Some other coin room guests have included Emilio Ortiz, researching Latin American coins and tokens; Dr. Ursula Kampmann, working on counterfeit detection; Dr. Edmund Carpenter, completing his research on the background of the 11th-century Norse penny supposedly found in Maine and Joel Mitchell, a Harvard University student, making his appointment to have a look at coins of the Maghrib (the Arabian West, basically North Africa). Francis B. Bessenyey, while studying our Hungarian Medieval coinage, called attention to a rare issue from the Dalmatian mint of Cattaro, struck upon the occasion of the king’s descent on Italy following the assassination of his brother, the titular king of Naples, in 1345.


Hungarian Kingdom, Louis I d’Anjou (1342-1382), AR Grosso, Cattaro Mint (ex Christiansen): 1958.160.1)

The Society continues to work closely with New York’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art, where many specimens from our cabinet are currently displayed. On behalf of a forthcoming exhibition with a Late Byzantine focus (1261-1557), Dr. Robert Hallman and Dr. Sarah Brooks came by for help to find examples of appropriate European, Armenian, Georgian, Mongol and late Seljuk coins which would compliment Paleologan material. The selections they made are intended to be featured in an exhibit which will run from March to July, 2004. Frances Bretter and Peter Kenny, also from the Metropolitan but representing the American wing, visited to research neo-classical decorative motifs as found on furniture with a possible correlation to Early American paper money. This approach is in preparation for a future exhibition of the work of acclaimed New York empire-style craftsman Duncan Fyffe and his contemporary furniture makers.

Medievalia, Researches and Publications

Evelina Guzauskyte, a graduate student at Columbia University, visited the coin rooms to investigate background on a coin to which Christopher Columbus referred in his letters in 1493, the cinquin. This term cinquin (or cinquino, or cinquen) must be colloquial and unofficial, since it does not appear as a regular Spanish denomination at this time. Might it have referred to the common contemporary coin generally known as the blanca? The work of former ANS Curator Dr. Alan M. Stahl has shown that the billon blancas of Enrique IV (1454-1474) are the only coins found in some abundance at Columbus’ colonial settlement in the Dominican Republic (‘Coins from the excavations at La Isabela, D.R., the first European colony in the New World,’ in American Journal of Numismatics, 2nd Series, Vol 5-6, 1993-1994, p. 189-207, pls. 22-25), and are, indeed, the predominant Spanish small change of that era.

Dr. Stahl’s researches instigated a couple of our other inquires. On his behalf, we were in contact with Dr. Katherine L. Jansen, Associate Professor of History at Catholic University of America, to grant permission for publication of photographs of two Medieval Italian coins of Venice in the cabinet. These pieces are a billon tornesello of Andrea Dandolo (1343-1354) and a silver soldino of the same doge.


Venetian Republic, Andrea Dandolo, Silver soldino, ca. 1350 (ex Bosco): 1984.175.1

They are appearing in an article by Dr. Stahl written for Medieval Italy: A Documentary History, ed. by Katherine Jansen, Frances Andrews and Joanna Drell, for the University of Pennsylvania Press. He also wrote another piece for which we were asked by Deanna Raso, of DR Editorial Services, to provide illustrations. This is “Coinage (Early Middle Ages)” for Ancient Europe 8000 BC – AD 1000, Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World, to be published by the Gale Group.)


The Franks, Carolingian Kingdom, Charlemagne (AD 768-814), AR Denarius of the Treviso mint (ANS Purchase, Grunthal): 1986.155.1)


The Visigoths, Pseudo-imperial imitation of Anastasius I (AD 491-518), AV Tremissis, unknown mint (ANS Purchase, Blaickner): 1956.25.1)


The Franks/Frisians, AV Tremissis of the moneyer Madelinus, from the Dorestad mint, ca. AD 675 (ANS Purchase, Schulman): 1957.93.1)

A provocative query came in from Beth Holman, Associate Professor at the Bard College Graduate Center, regarding the relative worth of the Roman ducato di camera of ca. 1450 vis à vis ca. 1530. Dr. Holman is trying to compare manufacture prices of a goldsmith who is recorded in the Papal accounts as having been paid 126 ducati di camera for a chalice in 1453 and of Benvenuto Cellini, who wanted 300 scudi for work on another chalice eighty years later. She reports that the payment to Cellini, mentioned in his autobiography, “takes place under Clement VII, probably ca. 1532, but perhaps as early as 1531, or as late as 1533. In the Vita, Cellini calls them ‘scudi’ but in some documents (also of the 1550s) they are listed as gold ducats. So he seems to be using the term interchangeably.” The niceties of papal gold certainly warrant further investigation.

Americana, Surveys and Confirmations

Roy Bonjour, a collector, student and author in the field of the Vermont coinage, contacted us in connection with a survey he is conducting on the Ryder/Richardson varieties 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, and 38. Unfortunately, the information which I was able to provide was limited: the ANS collection only holds an example of the RR-35 (a product of Captain Thomas Machin’s Newburgh Mint, Bressett 20-X, struck over a 1781 counterfeit Irish halfpenny). William Anton and Roger Siboni, other Early American enthusiasts with a specialized interest in this area, both had occasion to examine the Society’s collection of the Confederation-era Vermont coinage. This section of the cabinet is excellent although it is clearly still lacking major die varieties.


Vermont copper, 1788, Newburgh Mint, RR-35 (ex Wormser): 1951.168.1)

Eugene C. Plakosh contacted us for help indentifying a “strange coin” that a number of dealers had been unable to place. It was, simply, what is known as a “patriotic” U.S. Civil War token, struck during the coin-shortage emergency of 1862-1864 (its reference no. was 119/398 in Patriotic Civil War Tokens, by George and Melvin Fuld). The piece was also, in fact, an example of what is called an “incomplete planchet mint error.”

Several inquiries came in regarding the presence in the cabinet (or absence therefrom) of 19th century American issues. Among them, Robert Loewinger sought information on some varieties of 19th century gold. Brad Karoleff, Editor of the John Reich Journal, sought information on a particular American disme in our cabinet. The coin in question, an 1831 Davis 2 (JR2) variety, believed to be a proof and weighing 2.665g, was donated to the ANS by Alan Lovejoy, from the collection sold by Stack’s in 1990 as part of their 55th anniversary sale, lot 115.


U.S., AR Disme, 1831 (ex Lovejoy): 1991.80.2)

George Corell contacted us regarding his research on the Confederate Cent, seeking the weight, diameter, die alignments and photographs of the two specimens in the cabinet. These two interesting pieces, from the same 1908 accession, provide what seems to be a unique insight into the history surrounding this forlorn but famous issue by Robert Lovett, Jr. They are of opposite die alignments and both appear to be struck in copper-nickel.



Above: Confederate States of America, CN Cent, 1861, alignment 12:00 (ex Gookin): 1908.181.1). Below: ”Confederate States of America, CN Cent, 1861, alignment 6:00 (ex Gookin): 1908.181.2)

Having found an item which matched an example on the ANS data base, accessible through our website at http://www.numismatics.org, Marlane Zimmer contacted us for more information. Her specimen and its ANS cabinet counterpart fall into the series of American political tokens struck by partisans of particular presidential candidates. This curious issue relates to the campaign of 1872, when Henry Wilson (February 16, 1812 – November 22, 1875) became the running mate of the controversial incumbent, President Ulysses S. Grant (replacing Schuyler Colfax, who in turn replaced Wilson when he died in office). On one of Grant’s campaign tokens, his bust and name appear on the obverse while Wilson’s name is inscribed on the reverse along with an eagle very much resembling that which figured on the contemporary gold $2 1/2 to $10 coins. But in the case of the two pieces mentioned above, the die for the Wilson reverse has been muled with a die commemorating the late Senator Charles Sumner. It is a mortuary piece, referring to Sumner’s death in 1874. (J. Doyle DeWitt, A Century of Campaign Buttons, 1789-1889, no. 1872-USG-13A).


U.S., political Token/ memorial medalet mule, of Henry Wilson and Charles Sumner, 1874, AE 24mm (ex Reed): 0000.999.41193)

Two of the leading national politicians of their age, Wilson and Summer were utterly different in background but both were adamant abolitionists from Massachusetts. Wilson helped gain the election of Sumner to the U.S. Senate, and later followed him to serve in that body himself. Both were among the “Radical Republicans” who fought for emancipation and who worked to protect the rights of the freed slaves following the War. Their deaths in 1874 and ’75 surely helped pave the way for the abridgement of civil rights which ensued.

Born Jeremiah Jones Colbath to a large and poor family in New Hampshire, Henry Wilson adopted his new name at the age of 21 and through tremendous personal effort made himself a successful shoe manufacturer. In later years when he served in Congress, he was familiarly known as the “cobbler of Natick.” As a young man, when he witnessed slaves being sold in the nation’s capital while on a trip taken for his health, Wilson committed himself to politics with the goal of ending slavery. His only son, following in his father’s footsteps, commanded a black regiment in the Civil War. Wilson was famous for traveling indefatigably all around Massachusetts and talking to anyone and everyone among his constituents.

Charles Sumner, on the other hand, was by no means a “man of the people.” Multi-lingual and Harvard-educated, his political expertise lay primarily in foreign affairs, but he was no less devoted to the cause of freedom. His empassioned pleading against the fugitive slave laws, denunciation of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and delivery of his notable antislavery speech called “The Crime against Kansas” in 1856 led to his being viciously attacked by a Congressman in the Senate Chamber. The assailant was Preston Brooks, a nephew of South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler, whom Sumner had maligned in his address. Brooks repeatedly beat the defenseless Sumner over the head with a cane, leaving him in bloody unconsciousness from which it took him three years to recover. Castigated and denounced for this atrocity by Wilson, Brooks challenged him to a duel, which Wilson declined.

Through the Civil War, Sumner and Wilson strongly supported the military, and pushed President Abraham Lincoln to emancipate and enfranchise the slaves. The two senators felt the rebellious South deserved harsh treatment, and they fostered the movement to impeach President Andrew Johnson on account of his leniency. By the election of 1872, Sumner had become disenfatuated by then President Grant, as had many of the reform-minded Republicans. Thus broke the Sumner-Wilson team. The former Union Army commander’s sweeping popularity in 1868 had been undermined by scandals in his administration (Wilson was touched by the Credit Mobilier debacle, but came through sufficiently unscathed) but the Grant-Wilson ticket won, nevertheless. The victory was due to the weakness of his opponent, Horace Greeley, and the disagreements among his “strange-bedfellows”—the Democrats and Sumner with his “Liberal Republicans.”

Many people are learning to turn to our phenomenal data base for answers to numismatic queries, but there are always some questions which can probably never be adequately answered. Our mule is an example of such an enigma. We will presumably never know the exact role of most surviving items. Why was it made? Or how unusual is it? How many pieces are still in existence? Is it a good investment? Who owned it? Zimmer was referred to us by the Grant Museum Association in Illinois.

World Coinages, Broad and Narrow Perspectives

Chris Schmidt-Nowara, Assistant Professor of History at Fordham University, is working on a book about national identity and commemorations in 19th-century Spain and its three major colonies: Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. He examined pertinent issues to investigate how the Spanish state represented itself, both in Spain and in the colonies.

David Edwards, a researcher at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) of the Smithsonian Institution, got in touch with us to inquire about gold dating from the late 15th century to the early 18th century. This new landmark museum—scheduled to open on the National Mall in September, 2004—will feature a central theme demonstrating the motivations which brought Europeans to the “New World,” so gold plays an important role. Unfortunately, our collection is lacking certain important pieces sought by our potential borrower: in this case, the notable VIGO- and LIMA-marked English gold coins of Anne and George II, respectively, minted from captured Spanish treasure.

Former ANS Curator Dr. William L. Bischoff sought to learn more about the Indo-Scythian coinages of Azes II, from the ancient regions now falling mostly within the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Society’s extensive collections of these issues of the “Sakas” include many examples of hoard coins donated by Jonathan Rosen and selected pieces from the great bequest of Edward T. Newell. Browsing through the varieties of these coins, believed to date from roughly 20 to 1 B.C., provided me with the occasion to attribute several.

Dr. Philip R. Mossman requested photographs of a pair of French coins from the cabinet for a Colonial Newsletter article on the coins and currency of Nova Scotia when it was the “14th colony.” In his ground-breaking work, Dr. Mossman found evidence, among other discoveries, for the use of the gold Louis and silver Écu. His long-term study was “spurred on since my family is of very old Nova Scotia stock—the Mossmans arrived from Switzerland on the second passenger ship to Halifax in 1750.”


France, Louis XV, AV Louis d’or aux mirlitons, 1723-Y, Bourges Mint (ex Davis): 1971.308.1)


France, Louis XV, AR Écu d’argent aux huit L, 1725-(9), Rennes Mint (ex Hermanos): 1962.57.12)

James Hearn contacted us on account of having bought an 1838-M North Peru 8 reales with an unusual feature. He describes his coin as having what appear to be “two ‘dots’ between the ‘M’ and the date.” The ANS example of the 1838 M Nor-Peruano 8 reales shows no trace of a second dot between the M and the date, such as that which Hearn found on his example. Presumably the anomaly is accountable to a slight variation on that particular die.


Peru, 8 reales Nor-Peruano, 1838-M (ANS Purchase, Echenique): 1967.113.125)

Radu Nedelcu inquired initially about an Ottoman Turkish coin from the Constantinople mint, of which he sent images. It was to be dated to the fifth year of the reign of the Sultan Selim III (which corresponds to CE 1793/4). He then requested help which several other coins, including a Serbian 5 para of 1884, from the Heaton Mint, Birmingham, Great Britain, and a half Thaler of Hungary, dated 1785, from the Vienna Mint (it had one side planed off, and had been turned into a piece of jewelry—what we familiarly call a “love token”).

Joaquin Gil del Real requested photographs and information regarding the Field, Brodie & Co. Savings Bank of Colon, silver 5- and 10-cent tokens with reeded edges. These scarce pieces, with diameters of 16 and 20mm, are listed by Russell Rulau under Panama, although of course the isthmus was still a part of Colombia in 1885. Colón (both the Province and city of that name) is a port. The “B” mint mark which appears on them has been suggested as that of Bogotá, but no information on these tokens is known to have survived in Colombia as reported to Gil, who has kindly provided some additional background data on these interesting and enigmatic pieces for our records:

—Walter Joseph Field associated himself with Brodie in January, 1885 (according to an item that appeared in the Star & Herald of Panama). Field’s father had arrived in Panama circa 1854 and did well in Colon, founding the Exchange Bank of Colon in 1866. By 1872, though, things were tough and it folded. During the year 1885, unfortunately, there were political ‘upheavals’ in the country, and in Colon things got out-of-hand when, supposedly, Pedro Prestan set the city on fire. Sadly, all of the Notarial Records, from the founding of the city of Colon, were burnt and none survived. At that time, banks had to have a patente, or license; though I have looked and looked, none has appeared. From 1855, Colombia experimented with the “federal” type of government. By the end of 1885, however, Mr. Nunhez assumed power in Bogota and Panama, like many others in the federation, ceased to be a “State” and reverted to a mere department. Mr. Field packed his bags and started to return to the USA but stopped for a few days in Costa Rica. He stayed there over 40 years and had coffee fincas and was a founding “father” and first president of the Banco Internacional de Costa Rica—his portrait graces the 10 Colon bill of 1916. In the 20’s he sold out and came to Sunny California, lost all in the market crash and passed away. (Pers. comm.)—


Colombia/Panama. Field, Brodie & Co. Savings Bank of Colon, silver 10 cents token (ex Parish): 1892.37.6)

American Indian Peace Medals Gain Attention

The ANS cabinet is justly renowned as the home of the foremost collection of America’s Indian Peace Medals. These have formed the basis of all serious work on the subject, and have brought recognition to the Society. During recent months, therefore, it is not surprising that a number of individuals have made inquiries of one sort or another concerning this field of Americana.

Dale Chlouber, Curator of the Washington Irving Trail Museum, was researching an unlisted silver 1792 George Washington oval medal for which they were unable to determine antiquity. The previous owner stated that it was originally acquired in the early 1960s, in a trunk full of numerous artifacts, including pictures, which had been personal effects of Quanah Parker, the famous Comanche Chief. Many replicas of Peace medals have been turning up for some years, now, often accompanied by cheerfully fantastical stories. An additional suspicious Washington small oval medal was submitted by Samuel C. Gassman for analytical comparison with ANS specimens. Rebecca Reynolds, the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Fellow for American Decorative Arts and Sculpture Art of the Americas at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, contacted us to consult on Washington’s “Treaty of Greenville” medal issue.

The Business and Economics Reference Librarian at the Holland/New Library of Washington State University, Cheryl Gunselman, is in the process of attempting to locate all of the Thomas Jefferson Indian peace medals of the silver, 3-part (hollow or shell) type. This project is part of her research for an article to be co-authored with anthropologist Roderick Sprague. The Jefferson Peace Medals are presently among the most popular pieces of Americana thanks to increasing awareness of their historical importance. The Society has received multiple requests from other institutions to borrow them recently—no doubt due to the approaching bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.


Jefferson Indian Peace Medal, 55mm (ex Schiff): 1915.143.1)

The ANS holds six of these important emblems of early American expansion. Five are examples of the original silver medals (two large, one medium-sized, and two small). The Society also has a third large-sized “original” 3-part medal made of copper. Researcher Michael Hodder contacted us to verify information in connection with his own investigations on this issue. One of the large silver medals is on indefinite loan to Monticello; other pieces have been lent to the Missouri Historical Society. There are also a number of additional, later versions of the Jefferson Indian Peace medals in the cabinet, including forgeries, but these are, of course, considerably less evocative.


Jefferson Indian Peace Medal, 76mm (ex Grunthal): 1949.52.1)


Jefferson Indian Peace Medal, 103mm (ex Wyman): 1923.52.11)

Still another individual contacting us about Indian Peace Medals was Dr. Rita Laws, author of a forthcoming book entitled Indian Peace Medals and Related Items, Collecting the Symbols of Peace and Friendship. The reference is intended to deal with US and Indian history, culture, peace symbolism, coins, medals, and especially, collecting. It will include notes on classifying the medals presented to Indians and describe how to detect counterfeits and how to care for a collection, she informed us.

Medallic Meanderings

It is always satisfying to locate something in the cabinet matching a mere description of someone else’s piece. One such medal which recently came to my attention was one which brings to mind the correlation of certain current concerns with those of centuries past. Today, we find it all too easy to forget the global terror that was once represented by the scourge of smallpox, but the discovery of inoculation against the virus was a great advance in medical practice and in world health. In 1798, English physician Edward Jenner published his observations on a new form of immunization obtained by infecting a body through introduction of the related, but far less virulent, cowpox (taken from pustules). His technique of “vaccination” (from vaccus, the Latin for “cow”) quickly gained the attention of the French emperor and became widespread. The once dread disease has now been almost completely eradicated. From Jenner’s process has come our word and concept “vaccination,” as exemplified by a medal about which Heidi Bramford inquired.


France, AR 33mm Parisian Municipal Vaccination program award medal, 1814 and thereafter: 1925.57.28, Gift of William R Powell.

This issue owes its origin to health measures introduced in Paris under Napoleon and was presented to doctors in recognition of the vaccinations they had given. On its obverse is shown a cow beneath medical instruments, with EX INSPERATO/ SALUS (“health from an unexpected source”) in the exergue; the rev. reads VACCINATIONS/ MUNICIPALES/ DE PARIS/ M.DCCCXIV. within an oak wreath. The medal was designed by Alexis Joseph Depaulis (signed DEPAULIS F. in tiny letters, at the l. obv. margin) and was distributed for an extended period beginning in 1814. Storer, Medicina in Nummis, 4649-52; Freeman, Medals Relating to Medicine and Allied Sciences, 597.

Bob Mueller contacted us regarding an exhibit running this summer at the Cornish Colony Museum, in New Hampshire. He is a Board Member the Museum as well as being the author of the presentation on the medals of Paul Manship at the ANS’ Coinage of the Americas Conference in 1997. This upcoming feature, for which he sought loan objects, focuses on the contributions and art of the women of the Cornish Colony, particularly Frances Grimes (1869-1963), Helen Farnsworth Mears (1876-1916) and Elsie Ward Hering (1871-1923). Regrettably, our cabinet is deficient in this respect. We have no works by Hering, only one by Mears, and of the six catalogued in our data base as being by Grimes, investigation proved that several were the misattributed creations of other artists. Mears’ beautiful work, representing the quintessence of the Cornish Colony’s productivity (as well as depicting its founder and inspiration), is her 1898 medallic tribute to her master, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Checking this specimen gave me a chance to correct our recorded description.

—Obv. AVGVSTVS SAINT-GAUDENS SCVLPTOR AETATISo L / HELEN MEARS FECIT PARIS MDCCCXCVIII; a half-length portrait figure of Saint-Gaudens at age 50, facing right and leaning on the pedestal of a model for his superb equestrian statue of General William T. Sherman; the lower edge is inscribed COPYRIGHTED 1916 / by MARY MEARS.—


US. AE 190 x 220mm plaque of Saint-Gaudens by Helen F. Mears, sculpted in 1898 (ANS Purchase): 1923.55.1)

Lynda Stoddard requested information about a bronze aviation medal by French sculptor Paul-Marcel Dammann, called “Toucher les étoiles” (to touch the stars), which had evidently still been available in 1992. Unfortunately, although we have seventeen Dammann pieces in the cabinet, we lack this one. An inquiry to the French mint on Stoddard’s behalf brought the prompt and courteous response from Eliane Thiebaud, “Désolée mais cette médaille n’est plus en vente” (“so sorry, but this medal is no longer available”).

James Sweeny continued his research on British Calendar medals and sent us a copy of his printed preliminary study of these fascinating pieces. Among those in the ANS cabinet is to be found the earliest known dated example by Powell (1746), of whose pieces the earliest previously cited, by Fuld, was a 1748 piece (George and Melvin Fuld, “Calendar medals and store cards,” The Numismatist, Vol. 69, no. 1 (Jan. 1956), pp. 33-40 [and various issues to] Vol. 72, no. 11 (Nov. 1959), pp. 1355-1371.

An inquiry from Jennifer Harper instigated a look at the British medals in the cabinet celebrating the abolition of slavery throughout Great Britain’s Colonial empire, in 1834. There were a dozen or so medals commemorating this great humanitarian occasion. The ANS holds an outstanding collection of numismatic memorabilia relating to slavery and its abolishment, including pieces celebrating the British government’s edict. Among the varieties issued by Davis of Birmingham are examples matching Harper’s. One is as follows:


Great Britain, AE 45mm, abolition of Colonial slavery medal, 1834, by J. Davis of Birmingham, proof (ex Smith): 1928.25.13)

—Obv. Negro in chains kneeling r., hands clasped; AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER; in ex., A VOICE FROM/ GREAT BRITAIN/ TO AMERICA ./ 1834; on the ground line to l., DAVIS, to r., BIRM. Rev. a Negro standing facing, with raised hands holding broken chain links, amidst broken shackles and whip, highlighted by rays behind in field; in background, a hut, palm trees and a plant; THIS IS THE LORDS DOING; IT IS MARVELLOUS IN OUR EYES. PSALM 118 V.23; in ex., JUBILEE AUGT. 1/ 1834. Brown, British Historical Medals, 1666—

Once again, there have been several inquiries about the ANS’ extremely successful 1909 Hudson-Fulton celebration medal by medallic sculptor Emil Fuchs. In terms of all of its varieties combined, this is probably the most common “art medal” ever produced in this country, but it is, of course, nevertheless a collectors’ item. There are at least half a dozen different varieties which people keep encountering (see ANS Magazine, Vol. 2, No., Spring 2003, p. 42).

People Make the Collections

Among other individuals who have recently been in contact with us for aid of one sort or another are James J. Boyle, Margaret and Pedro Castillo, Wei-Tsu Fan, Alvin Feinman, Kate Goodwin, Fred Grinstein, Marian Halperin, John Hanley, Thomas Lange, Debra Lans, Robert Levinson, David Liu, David McBride, Donald Mitchell, Gerald Morris, Gerard Muhl, Dr. Beth E. Notar, Graham Parker, Helen Rosen, Marlene Teichman, and Dan and Jihan Varisco. Interest in numismatics never seems to wane. We can be thankful that this remains true for our Coin Room volunteers, Ted Withington, Henry Bergos and Richard Perricelli, to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude. It is through the help of volunteers that we are able to continue making progress in collection management activities while the staff’s time is taken up with public service efforts of the sort represented by the contacts mentioned earlier.

The greatness of the ANS’ cabinet is due to far-sighted contributions by many individuals over the past 145 years. A number of outstanding leaders in this respect, of course, have served as the Society’s Presidents (including Daniel Parish, Jr., Archer Milton Huntington, Edward T. Newell, Herbert E. Ives and Harry Fowler). Others have been primarily collectors (and their families) who came to understand the great benefit of a collection of this stature. Many of these public-spirited donors, so devoted to making this institution the great source that it has become for everyone wanting to learn more about the role of numismatics in civilization, are no longer with us. I enjoy mentioning the names of the donors who contributed the items we have been examining; their memories endure as their gifts continue to serve. As we consider the visitation and usage the cabinet experiences today, and the many activities involved, let us never forget that it is thanks to our generous donors that so many people can turn to the ANS for information.

Numismatics​.org (Summer 2003)

by Sebastian Heath

This month’s column takes a broad look at the usage patterns of the ANS web-site. But before I get into the details I need to give some background on how this is done. The ANS web-site is divided into two main parts. All the informational pages, such as opening hours and descriptions of the collection, are hosted by our Internet Service Provider (ISP). The machine that makes the searchable databases of the collection and library catalog available is kept at the ANS. Users of the site don’t know it but sometimes they are accessing the informational pages at our ISP and other times they are pulling information directly from the ANS’ own servers.

Each time somebody reads a page or performs a search in one of the databases, a line is generated in the log file of the machine providing the information. This log file lists, among other things, the address of the machine making the request and the file or search that was requested. Before going any further it is very important to say the ANS does not try to track individual users or do anything to determine the specific identity of those using our site. The main purpose of the log is to allow us to make sure that the site is running correctly but looking at the information it provides in aggregate allows some interesting patterns to emerge.

The last full month for which the log files are available is April 2003. Over the month’s thirty-one days, the ANS web-site received a total of 166,933 hits. This doesn’t count use by the ANS staff. That number is deceiving by itself, however, because a single person reading a single page can produce many hits. For example, the results of a database search that has twenty coin images will produce twenty-one hits: one for the page and one each for the images. A more useful indication of traffic to the site is the number of “page requests,” meaning the number of pages read without also counting any images those pages include. For April, there were just over thirty-five thousand page requests from twelve-thousand individual “hosts”. A host may represent an individual computer sitting on someone’s desk or it may be a machine that is providing access to many users. An example of the latter is the machine “cache-mtc-ac09.proxy.aol.com” that accessed the ANS site on eleven different days during the month. While it would be possible to record whether or not these hits came from the same AOL user, the Society doesn’t try to gather such individual statistics. The page request number is also useful because it eliminates most of the traffic from search engines that usually just check whether or not a page has been updated.

Thirty-five thousand pages served to twelve-thousand hosts is still a very coarse measure of the usage pattern of the Society’s web-site. One interesting measure is where the traffic is coming from. Forty percent of our traffic comes from addresses that end in either “.com” or “.net” and 8 percent from “.edu” domains. One can sometimes tell more about the origin of a .com or .net address if one looks at individual entries in the log but it is more useful to look at the addresses that explicitly indicate which country they come from. By this measure, ninety-two different nations are represented in the log. Other than the United States, the top countries by the number of hits are: Italy, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, and Canada. Almost every European country, from Albania to the United Kingdom appears at least once. The same is true for Latin America. In the Middle East, Lebanon shows up but Jordan does not. India, China, and Japan are well represented, of course, but it is interesting that Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Brunei also appear. The only region of the world not well represented is sub-Saharan Africa, with South Africa being an exception.

One good indication of what people are doing on the site is the database usage. There were 8,058 searches of the coin database and 1,924 searches of the library catalog. In the coin database 1,587 different key words were used in searches. However, only 82 of these terms where used more than 10 times and the majority of these pertain to Ancient numismatics with a strong bias towards Roman emperors. The top ten search terms are: aachen, constantine, avg, coin, coins, genio, alexander, bithynia, ii, and providentia. This list again indicates that most of our users are interested in the coinage of the Ancient world.

The final statistic to look at in this column is the number of coin images viewed. In our test month of April the ANS served 81,403 images of coins. At the time we had about 3,500 images available so that most coins are being viewed multiple times. The five most viewed coins are all in the Greek and Roman departments and are all on display in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Figure 1 shows the “winner” of this contest, a denarius of 48 BC celebrating Caesar’s campaigns in Gaul that was viewed 380 times in April.

Without implementing a more sophisticated tracking system, there are limits to the amount of information we can gather about our users. But the ANS web-site is not a commercial venture looking to squeeze every penny out of its audience. Rather, it is one component of our overall effort to promote numismatics to an international audience. In this regard these numbers, while not large when compared to commercial sites, are encouraging.


Figure 1: Roman Denarius of 48 BC. Bearded bust of Gallic chieftain, shield to left. Biga with charioteer and warrior. (1937.158.248)

From the Collections Manager (Summer 2003)

by Elena Stolyarik

Additional Links

What It Takes To Move a Collection of Over 1 Million Objects

Since 1907, the site at Audubon Terrace has been the permanent residence for one of the oldest museum and research institutions in the country—the American Numismatic Society. Soon the ANS’ collections and library will be relocated to a new building in lower Manhattan’s financial center. The ANS’ new facility, with its greatly expanded space, will enable the staff to continue maintaining the Society’s world-class collections of important historical numismatic artifacts for many years to come. Most importantly all objects will be stored in one single, 1,700 square foot vault. Presently, the ANS has three vaults, two of which are housed within the same security area. The third one is on a separate floor. The new arrangement will increase security and put all of the curatorial offices in close proximity to the main vault.

In preparation for our move to the new building, a complete inventory of the ANS collections—consisting of about a million numismatic objects dating from the 7th century BC to the present—has been undertaken for the first time. The main goal of this assessment is to determine the exact number and location of the coins, medals and decorations and other materials amassed in approximately 12,000 drawer-trays and other shelving units. The total number of objects and their location is necessary for a well-organized move. Another purpose of this on-going collection management program is to identify and track missing or misfiled items. Before the curatorial staff started this inventory program, misplaced objects had been noted in a less systematic fashion, usually during study of individual coin trays. Now the creation of a complete inventory has become a part of our regular curatorial job.

Computers greatly help in this task. Sebastian Heath, the ANS Director of Information Technology, designed a data-base, based on FileMaker, a commercially available program, which captures the information for this project. This system provides full “life cycle” management in accordance with the requirements of the inventory, compacts and stores the records in the ANS’ data-base. The inventory is, of course, a long-term project, but the move to the new location requires the curators to provide movers and insurers with the basic number and location of all objects in the collection. Every member of the ANS curatorial staff is involved in this process. In addition, the permanent staff benefits tremendously from the help of an increased number of curatorial assistants, interns and volunteers.


Alexandra Halidisz

Alexandra Halidisz and Sofia Gofman have made major strides in all three vaults. Alexandra is a graduate of Hofstra University and currently a student in the Hunter College Graduate Program in Art History. She has been working for the last year as Curatorial Assistant for the Margaret Thompson Assistant Curator, Peter van Alfen. Sofia Gofman is also a Hofstra graduate and presently a second year student in Museum Studies at the City College of New York. Together with Peter van Alfen, the two interns have finished the inventory of the Museum’s extraordinary ancient Greek collections. This section — around 98,000 objects from the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods – is housed in more than 1,300 trays. These include the first known coins from Lydia and Ionia; an outstanding group of Athenian coins, including two decadrachms; the world’s best collection of coins of Alexander the Great; many regal and civic coinages of the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C.; a remarkable series from Southern Italy and Sicily; provincial issues struck under the Romans, as well as examples of many other examples of ancient people’s coinages. As of the beginning of the June, Alexandra and Sophia also finished the inventory of the nearly 97,000 objects from the Roman and Byzantine collections in the second lower level vault.


Sofia Gofman

The most difficult part of our inventory will be the huge collections of the Main Vault, which presently houses all items other than those of the ancient European and Mediterranean World. The materials in this section range from the medieval through modern periods for Europe, the Americas and Africa, and include all ancient, medieval and modern issues from East and South Asia as well as all post-Classical issues from the Near East. Among the outstanding holdings are the single most complete collection of Islamic coins, the world’s largest assemblage of glass coin weights and the famous “Jem Sultan” collection of Ottoman Turkish coinage. Another area of treasures is the American section, featuring one of the best collections of United States coinage together with rare and important pieces from other countries—many from the permanent loan collection deposited with the ANS by the Hispanic Society of America. Care and management of these areas are under the supervision of Michael L. Bates, Curator of Islamic Coins, and Robert Wilson Hoge, Curator of American Coins and Currency. For the inventory and a host of other tasks, Curators Bates and Hoge have relied heavily on Dawn Bennett, our indispensable upstairs Curatorial Assistant who is an undergraduate in Classical Archaeology at Hunter College. At the time of writing, Dawn has completed surveying more than 600 trays, containing around 55,000 numismatic objects.


Left: Richard Perricelli and right: Michael Bates

Inventorying the paper money collection has been undertaken by Museum Volunteer Richard Perricelli. He and Bates have worked through the ANS’ massive collection of Notgeld—the colorful emergency notes printed during and after the First World War in Germany and elsewhere. Other holdings include rare examples of Chinese and Russian banknotes. So far, Perricelli has counted about 13,000 currency-holders� and albums� in the collection. Bates has also tackled one of the most problematic areas, the upper floor of our main vault, which is has been in serious need of organization, cataloguing and filing of miscellanies materials. One of the few public collections of military decorations and insignia in the United States is housed here. This impressive collection, based on that of Archer Huntington, contains some real rarities of US and European decorations. Also located in the upper floor of the Main Vault is the Society’s huge collection of medals, which represent a considerable challenge. Many of these art medals have not been registered. In addition the cataloguing of this material is often difficult, as not many catalogues exist for such objects. Thus curators and volunteers have to create their own cataloguing system while creating an inventory of the collection. Long-term Museum Volunteer Ted Withington has already worked through 3,786 trays of medals and has been collecting information about the location and the sizes of all items, many of which have never been entered into the Society’s computer records. Whitington and his wife Robin are also in the process of creating an inventory of the Medieval European section of the cabinet.


Robin and Ted Withington

During this summer we anticipate assistance from additional interns, including Andrew Schloss, a student at the University of Rochester; Jonathan Torn, a student at McGill University; Jihan Varisco, a recent High School Graduate, and High School student Daniel Isaac. They will work as needed under the supervision of the curatorial staff, all of whom believe that our common efforts will help to finish this necessary inventory project very soon, and that they will help us to relocate the ANS’ numismatic collections successfully and efficiently.


Jihan Varisco

Dan Isaac

As with any move — whether of a large museum or a household — one benefits greatly from the difficult exercise of accounting for one’s possessions and re-arranging them in a new environment. In this process we will have to find spaces for our large medalic models, the small collection of paintings of numismatists, old coin cabinets, old photographic glass plates, and much more. All these items keep turning up in the many corners of the old ANS building on Audubon Terrace. There are some surprises and real finds, but most of the work is mundane, repetitive and tiring. The curators are very grateful to have the assistance of all interns and volunteers in this monumental task.


Andrew Schloss and Jonathan H.G. Torn

News (Summer 2003)

Wilmington Coin Club Talk by Robert W. Hoge

On Tuesday, April 22, Curator of American Coins and Currency Robert Wilson Hoge went to Delaware to give a talk to the Wilmington Coin Club. Hoge’s presentation was on the resources of the ANS’ famous collection of regular-issue United States coinage. He went through the denominations, characterizing them and mentioning some examples, such as the half cent which was the Society’s first acquisition, from Augustus B. Sage in 1858, and the 1804 dollar, which was presented by the Chase Manhattan Bank in 1980. Part of the amazing strength and beauty of this portion of the cabinet lies in the marvelous Brock collection of silver and gold proof coins which was purchased and donated to the Society by the wealthy New York banker J. Pierpont Morgan.

ANS Executive Director Appointed Chairperson of Newly Created Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee

The US Mint announced that the Secretary of the Treasury, John Snow, appointed Executive Director Ute Wartenberg Kagan to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC). Dr. Wartenberg Kagan had previously served on the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, which has been replaced by the new CCAC. The Secretary also named Dr. Wartenberg Kagan as chairperson of the new committee. On April 23, President Bush signed into law the “American 5-Cent Coin Design Continuity Act of 2003” (Public Law 108-15), which established the newly created CCAC.

It is composed of 11 members: one qualified in numismatic collection and curation; one qualified in the medallic arts or sculpture; one qualified in American history; one qualified in numismatics; three representing the interests of the general public, and four individuals recommended by the leadership of both the House and Senate. The CCAC advises the Secretary of the Treasury on themes and design proposals relating to circulating coinage and bullion coinage. The CCAC also makes commemorative coin and medal recommendations to the Secretary and advises on the events, persons, and places to be commemorated, as well as on the mintage levels and proposed designs. The CCAC submits an annual report to Congress and the Secretary describing its activities and providing recommendations.

So far the Secretary has appointed eight members of the CCAC. ANS Fellow David Enders Tripp of Stuyvesant, New York, a classical archeologist, art historian, writer and cartoonist, will bring to the CCAC his qualifications as a member of the numismatic community. Mr. Tripp has spent more than 30 years as a professional numismatist. Daniel Altshuler of Gloucester, Massachusetts, is specially qualified in medallic arts and sculpture. Currently, Mr. Altshuler’s numismatic commemorative works include Henry David Thoreau and Paul Revere. He worked with the sculptor, Walker Hancock, for 13 years. Mr. Hancock made presidential busts in the Capital and statuary throughout Washington. Constance B. Harriman of Los Angeles and Washington, and Ms. Connie Matsui of San Diego, California will serve as two of the Committee’s three members who represent the interest of the general public. Ms. Harriman has extensive legal, public policy and management experience in the federal government, working with Congress, media and special interest groups. Ms. Matsui is a senior vice president with IDEC Pharmaceuticals and served as national president of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Mr. Thomas W. Noe of Maumee, Ohio was recommended by Speaker Hastert of the United States House of Representatives. Mr. Thomas W. Noe is the founder and president of Vintage Coins and Collectibles, and served as the Chairman of the Ohio Commemorative Quarter Committee. Mr. Richard W. Bratton of Gillette, Wyoming was recommended by United States Senate Majority Leader Frist for his enthusiasm and understanding of the importance of using our nation’s currency to celebrate the people, places and events that make America a rich and diverse nation. He is a former committee member of the Wyoming Heritage Foundation. Mr. Leon G. Billings of Kensington, Maryland was recommended by United States Senate Minority Leader Daschle. Mr. Billings served 12 years in the Maryland State Legislature, and is president of Leon G. Billings Inc., a consulting firm.

At its first meeting, on May 15, the committee, under its Chairperson, Dr. Wartenberg Kagan, reviewed proposed designs for the Texas and the Iowa state commemorative quarter due to be issued in 2004. Ms. Gloria Eskridge, Associate Director of Sales and Marketing of the United States Mint, was invited by the CCAC to present proposed design concepts for each quarter. For the Texas quarter, the CCAC favored a simple design of the state outline and the star, combined with the inscription “The Lone Star State”. The committee’s recommendation for Iowa is a design named “Feeding the World,” which includes a cow and a pig in profile view flanked by plants of soybeans and corn. An outline of the state is part of the design. Once these recommendations have been formalized, they will be submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury.

One of the CCAC’s most immediate tasks is the selection and review of new themes and designs for the new 5-cent piece, which is commemorating the bicentenary of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. As with the State Quarter Program, the nickel will show several different designs,which will be issued until the end of 2005. Themes that were suggested were the Jefferson Indian Peace Medal, many of which were taken on the expedition and given to American Indian leaders; the vessels they traveled in and the rivers they traversed the country on; the two explorers and the mountains they discovered; and a set of ancient, Native American rock carvings or petroglyphs. Committee members expressed the view that the series of coins should also include the theme of the Pacific Ocean. In 2006 the nickel will revert to a design similar to the present one, incorporating Jefferson’s portrait and Monticello. The US Mint will issue the first coins at the end of this year. Subsequent to this meeting, CCAC reviewed a set of preliminary designs for two nickel coins. The Committee expressed a preference for a peace medal design of a handshake, together with the inscription of Louisiana Purchase and its date 1803. For the second preliminary design the CCAC chose the boat seen from the side, without any further inscription. The Committee made a number of suggestions for changes to the preliminary designs. After some further changes, the designs were submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury, who will make the final decision about the designs.

Dr. Wartenberg Kagan expressed her satisfaction with the first meeting of the committee. “This was a very productive first meeting. The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the nation as a whole are facing exciting times with a changing look for American coins. We will work hard with the Secretary of the Treasury to create a beautiful new set of nickels”

2003 Graduate Seminar Marks a Milestone

On June 9th, with the opening of the 50th Graduate Summer Seminar, the Society’s role in graduate education marked a milestone. Established over half a century ago and funded by a generous endowment from Councilor Eric P. Newman, the ANS offers to give selectively chosen graduate students and junior professors the opportunity to study numismatics in the presence of a premier collection, library and noted specialists. Over 500 students have finished the program over the last five decades, many of whom have gone on to have illustrious research and teaching careers in history, archaeology and philology. The ANS therefore has made a substantial contribution to graduate, and indirectly undergraduate, education in the US and elsewhere. For more information on the Seminar, including useful bibliographies and handouts, please see our website: http://www.numismatics.org/Seminar/Seminar.


From left: Jeffrey Johnson, Philip Kiernan, Peter Lewis, Melissa Haynes, Fred Naiden, Michael Bates, Rachel Meyers, Elena Stolyarik, François de Callataÿ, Peter van Alfen, Dagmar Riedel, Sebastian Heath, Robert Hoge, and guest lecturer, Paul Keyser

This year Prof. François de Callataÿ, who occupies La chaire d’Histoire monétaire et financière du monde grec at the 4th section of l’École pratique des Hautes Études (Paris-Sorbonne) and is also the department head of the Cabinets muséologiques de la Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, returns to the ANS as this summer’s Visiting Scholar. The graduate students for the Seminar are: Dr. Fred Naiden, Assistant Professor of Classics at Tulane University, New Orleans; Dr. Peter Lewis, a former MD and now a seminary student at Brisbane College of Theology, Queensland, Australia; Rachel Meyers of Duke University; Jeffrey Johnson of Princeton Univeristy, Melissa Haynes of Harvard University; Philip Kiernan of the University of Cincinnati; and Dagmar Riedel of Indiana University-Bloomington.

ANS Staff Attend the 13th International Numismatic Congress in Madrid

Between September 15th and 19th the ANS’ curatorial staff and the executive director will be attending the 13th International Numismatic Congress hosted this year in Madrid. The largest convention of its type for numismatic researchers and scholars, the International Congress is held every five years in a different location throughout Europe or the US. The five-day program is lecture intensive with hundreds of participants presenting their latest research. Likewise the ANS staff will offer papers on their current research. Michael Bates, who has been invited as a Plenary Speaker, will present “Mining and Minting in the Islamic World and Elsewhere;” the other papers include: Ute Wartenberg Kagan, “An Early Hoard Revisited: The Coinage of Croesus?”; Elena Stolyarik, “The Silver Coinage of the Bosporan King Spartocus: The Problem of Attribution”; Robert W. Hoge, “The Coinage of Arausio: A Missing Link (Confirming a Roman Mint under Ocatavian)”; Peter van Alfen, “West Greek Plated Coins and the Question of ‘Official’ Production.” Also, Sebastian Heath and Andrew Meadows (of the British Museum) will be hosting a panel on numismatics and the internet.

Japanese TV Crew Films ANS

A video crew from NHK, the national network of Japan, descended on the ANS one recent Thursday to film coins for a forthcoming documentary, “Eurasian Odyssey,” which will include, among other subjects, one-hour episodes on the Islamic caliphate and the Mongols. Three technicians and a translator/facilitator brought a mass of heavy trunks and cases four flights up our narrow back stairs to the small room outside the main vault known as the “laboratory,” or more realistically as the “kitchen.”

The crew shot ten coins in all, or rather nine coins and a pile of some three hundred silver dirhams from a hoard. To set the coins in motion, they were fixed one, two, or three at a time on an electric turntable, lit by an elaborate array of lamps. The coins chosen were mostly Abbasid, with a few from the Mongol era, selected as typical issues, not rarities. The most interesting of the lot was a Baghdad dirham of Harun al-Rashid, with his name written in tiny elongated letters around the reverse central field. The work took a full working day, and a few minutes overtime.


”Silver dirham, Madinat al-Salam, Baghdad mint, dated 172=CE 788/9, (1999.57.1)

Our Curator of Islamic Coins, Michael Bates, was the subject of several takes showing him opening the antique vault door, walking down to the Islamic section, opening a cabinet and pulling out a drawer of dirhams of Harun or another caliph. He commented ad libidem on the materials shown. The director promised to mention the ANS prominently in the film credits as well as in the voice-over narrative. The documentary is probably at least a year away from airing. If any of our members in Japan happens to see it, we would be glad to learn how it all turns out.

IAPN Book of the Year Award

The Internation Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN) has awarded the ANS publication “Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalogue, Part I: Seleucus I to Antiochus III” by Arthur A. Houghton III and Catharine C. Lorber, their Book of the Year Award. A presentation will take place later this year.

Arthur Houghton served as President of the ANS from 1995-1999. A member and contributor since 1963, Houghton, a student of Hellenistic coinages for more than 40 years, has been writing on the subject since 1979.

Catharine Lorber, an ANS member and contributor since 1994, has been a cataloguer in the numismatic trade for over 20 years. As a numismatic researcher, her specialty is in the coinages of the Seleucids, the Ptolemies, the Northern Greeks and of Larissa in Thessaly.

2003 Summer Interns

We are glad to have a fine group of interns with us this summer. Sophia Gofman is a graduate of Hofstra University and is in her second year at City College in the Museum Studies program. Daniel Isaac will be a senior in high-school, and class vice-president next fall. Daniel looks forward to studying archeology on the college level after he graduates in 2004. Andrew Schloss is a sophomore history student at the University of Rochester. He is a numismatic enthusiast, received the Wilton (CT) Historical Society Award, and came to us recommended by Rochester faculty. He has written an article on Belgian numismatics which we may wish to publish, and has an interest in the coinages of British India, in particular. Jonathan H.G. Torn is pursuing undergraduate studies at McGill University, majoring in archeology and religion. Jihan Varisco, a recent high-school graduate, studied Latin and Greek. He looks forward to matriculating in the Classics Program at the University of Chicago this fall.

Film on Dora de Pédery-Hunt, Saltus Award Winner

On June 4, a Canadian film crew visited the ANS galleries to shoot footage of our temporary exhibit of the works of Dora de Pédery-Hunt. This feature, which opened March 8, was prepared in honor of the occasion of the artist’s receipt of the J. Sanford Saltus Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Art of the Medal. De Pédery-Hunt, designer of the portrait of Queen Elizabeth which graces Canada’s coinage, is of course one of the most famous medallic artists of the Western Hemisphere. The producer and photographer of the forthcoming film on Ms. Hunt by Canarian Pictures, of Toronto, is Laszlo Siki; the director is Anna Szakaly. It will be a one-hour documentary of the life and works of the artist from her childhood in Hungary onward, and is tentatively entitled “Dora de Pédery-Hunt: A Life in Art.”

ANS Hires New Business Office Manager

As of March 14, Mr. Nadav Silberstein has been employed as Business Office Manager/ Accountant of the American Numismatic Society. He is a native of Tel Aviv Israel, and has over 20 years of accounting experience. He has a degree in accounting from The American University, Washington D.C. He is running the business office and is undertaking the task of transferring our entire accounting system to Quickbooks.


Nadav Silberstein

ANS Council Meeting

At its meeting on June 21, the Council of the American Numismatic Society decided to close the Society as of July 6, 2003 to allow staff to prepare the move to 140 William Street. After that date staff members will deal only with paid photographic orders. An exact date for the move has not yet been scheduled, but the staff was told to expect the move some time after September 30.

Over the last few months, the renovation project has made rapid progress. Under the leadership of John Whitney Walter, First Vice President, the ANS finalized its plans and selected a general contractor. At the meeting, Whitney proposed a total budget for renovation and moving costs of $3,484,809 which the Council approved. Over the summer, the building will be prepared to house the vaults, coin cabinets and bookshelves. In this first phase offices and collections will be housed on four floors. The ground floor and second floor will be used for events but will not yet be built out. The ANS intends to start a major fundraising campaign to fund the building of a Museum of Money on the ground floor and the mezzanine of the new building.

The Council also approved the budget for the year 2003/4. The expenses in the unrestricted fund, which pays for most of the ANS’s operations and salary, was estimated at $1,190,600. Thanks to some commitments from some generous councilors, the deficit is estimated at only $233,600. The Council expects to revise the budget after the move to the new building, as running costs of 140 William Street are not certain yet.

At its meeting the Council elected the following six new Fellows:

John J. Ford Jr. of Phoenix, Arizona began his membership at the ANS in 1950. He has been a contributor to the ANS Library. Mr. Ford has been a researcher and coin dealer since the 1930s. His interests include Colonial coinage, Hard Times tokens, Merchant tokens, Indian Peace medals, Territorial gold, Fractional currency, Colonial currency, and Confederate bonds.

Paul T. Keyser of Mount Kisko, NY is a contributor and member of the ANS since 1987. He studied physics and classics at St. Andrew’s School, Duke University and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He spent time researching at the Center for Hellenic Studies, and has also taught classics. His publications include work on gravitational physics, and on science in the ancient world. He is currently crafting Java for IBM’s Watson Research Center, in Hawthorne, NY.

Robert Knapp of Oakland, CA is a Professor of Classics at the University of Berkeley, where he is chair of the Classics Department. His areas of interests are Roman history, epigraphy and numismatics. His publication of the excavation coins of Nemea is expected this year. He has been an ANS member since 1995.

Stanley De Forest Scott of New York City is a real estate developer. Much of his business is in downtown Manhattan. His collecting interests are in the areas of US Medals and Greek coins. A member since 1993, he is a contributor to the ANS and a member of the Silver Circle.

Roger Siboni of San Francisco, CA is the CEO of Epiphany.com. Previously he was Deputy Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of KPMG Peat Marwick LLP. He is a graduate of the University California at Berkeley. He has served on many boards, including several not-for-profits in New York City. He became a member in 1995 and is currently a Bronze Circle member. He has been funding annual expenses of CNL and has contributed to other projects on US coins.

David Vagi, a contributor to the ANS, has been a member since 1995. He is a specialist in ancient Greek and Roman coins. Mr. Vagi became a staff writer for Coin World newspaper. He worked as vice president of Spink America, NY and at Superior Galleries in Beverly Hills, CA.

In 1996 Vagi founded his own company, Delphi International Ancient Art. He has published extensively and has written numerous scripts for the NPR program Moneytalks. Mr. Vagi has received several awards for his writing and is building an ancient coin department at R.M. Smythe & Co., NYC.